Saturday, October 27, 2012

Big doings week-end

There is A LOT going on in our little corner of earth over the next few days.  Let me start be describing the one thing we will not be doing & yet benefits us greatly.  Wait, let me back up.

How do you feel about football?  College football? Gator college football?  Well, we have a love hate relationship.  More like a like, don't really care relationship, but whatever.  The short version is when there is a home game we do everything we can to get the hell out of Dodge.  It is not just what the people attending the game do.  I don't mean drunk & disorderly, although that is a factor, I mean thing like the university reselling ALL THE PARKING SPACES to alumni & other fans, so if you have not done something about your car before the end of business Friday, you can count on getting towed & fined.  When you consider how much it costs to park near A's building (I will give you a hint: it is more than $500), you can see how it might get old.  Fast.  But added to that are all the people not attending the game, who just want to hang out & bask in the drunken halo outside of the stadium.  & that is before we get into any real rivalry games.

Well, this weekend is the most famous college football rivalry of all time:  The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  & the good news is it is so damned big (& the rival is so damned close), they have all agreed to move it to Jacksonville & we get our town back.  Which means we will be able to move about freely & do everything else going on this week-end.

Today is the first day you can vote in the election here in Florida.  I am told that this is the second busiest day (the first being the actual 2nd Tuesday in November), but I probably won't get there until Monday myself.

Today is the first day of the Friends of the Library Book Sale.  We actually have a FOL booksale twice a year (we do love our library) but the October sale is usually the BIG one.  We will not be there this first day, but we do plan to go Sunday (the book sale runs Saturday to Wednesday).  We are arriving late because

Saturday is the only day of the Bat Festival at the Lubee Bat Conservancy.    We have never been, but I am determined to go this year. 

Yesterday I was on campus, for the first time in a long time I might add, & was talking with the most recent set of undergrads work-studying in the Herbarium when one of them bemoaned the "home game" being "so far away" & how he was just going to have to watch it on tv because without football there is "nothing to do in this town".

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Poulet pays à quatre minute à neuf

It was my intention to get this quilt done & shipped off (walked next door) last spring but, well, too much happened.  A lot happened here & a lot happened there.  Ordinarily what goes on next door does not impact my free time one iota but in this case there was a death in her family, which meant W***** was out-of-state for right around 3 weeks.  She meant to go for just the weekend but discovered more unfinished business than expected when she got there.  & back here, we were having henhouse problems & assorted other issues on both properties & since I had to deal for me, it only made sense to deal for her.

As a result, this quilt, which had already been delayed was delayed further & did not get into her hands until this very October.  Doubly sad as I have PICTURES of the blocks on my blog dated March....2011.

The pattern is straight forward.  I got it from Block Lotto, made numerous blocks in the red & white colorway that was part of the direction.  It didn't take the link to the source pattern (where Block Lotto seems to have gotten it, although I am not trying to suggest this is the first place it appeared ever in the history of quilting & the internet) for me to realize this block had potential with my favorite & most useless kind of fabric, large scale novelties with peculiar subjects.

Enter chickens.  Chickens wearing bandanas.  Chickens wearing bandanas with endearments written underneath them.  Chickens wearing bandanas with endearments written underneath them in French.  Anyone who knows me will realize that of course I bought the remaining fabric on the bolt.  There was not a little & it is already almost gone. 

I am still calling the block 8:56 (4 to 9) or en français: quatre minute à neuf heures.  & they are country chickens (poulet pays), although I suppose what with the colors, etc. they could be gangsta chickens...  Turns out, there is no google translate for gangsta, so I guess I will stick with country. Yes, I realize that this all mock-french, but it will work for me.

The finished quilt measures  56"x56" more or less, just the right size for a lap or a nap.  It was pieced & quilted on my Bernina, 153 Quilters Edition.  I used an irregular on-the-diagonal stripe which I have used before.  In addition to being a bit snazzier (& easier) than a regular side to side stripe, I have learned it wears well & so it is my default quilting for anything I know is likely to see regular use & thus regular washing.

Lastly there is a display sleeve on the back, machine stitched at the same time as the binding to the front.  Under ordinary circumstances I would consider this a strictly utilitarian quilt, but I know W*****'s entire house is decorated in chickens & I suspect this might get hung up as often as it is used.

So, here it is, my entry for the Autumn 2012 Blogger's Quilt Festival.  All my previous Blogger's Quilt Festival entries can be seen here.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures : 56″ x 56"
Quilted & pieced by : me on a Bernina 153
Best Category : Throw Quilt, Scrap Quilt, Home Machine Quilted Quilt

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crispin not Crispian or even Crispinian

I once said (or I vaguely remember typing) some crap about the Patron Saint of Shoes.  Well, I have finally found him.  Kinda.  I found a slew of saints (a slew of saints, like a murder of crows, I like it!) who oversee cobblers.  Also I like thinking of chichi shoemakers like Manolo Blahnik as "cobblers".  Feel free to delve the list yourself, but I am settling for Crispin not to be confused with Crispian, also a patron of shoemakers & his twin brother.

Sooooo, let's dig in:

Crispin (not Crispian AKA Crispinian, not that we care overmuch) or Crispinus but not Crispianus (because those spellings have fallen out of favor) was born to a noble Roman family sometime in the 3rd century.  Just to give you some perspective, Hadrian's Wall would have been well underway (as in a century & a half underway) by the time this kid (these kids) was (were) born.   That doesn't help? Let's just say the world was Roman as far as the eye could see & depending on which direction you were facing, probably much much farther.  In short, it was not the best time to start walking around talking about the one son of the one god.  There was many many words for that & one of them was treason.

Anyhow.  Our saint (& his brother) went out into Gaul & started preaching this heresy & eventually lost their lives over it (details to follow).  But that is not where the shoes come in.  Apparently, for his (their) pay-the-bills job, not to be confused with their vocation, he (they) made & repaired shoes.  He (they) got into trouble with the local constabulary over their contempt for all things material & were martyred in a variety of ways.  No really, a variety:  the rack, a few other tortures to get them to recant, thrown in a river with a millstone secured at the neck, & then burned.  All of this had no sway & the torturer was reputed to seek refuge in the flames himself.  I don't know about you, but I have had jobs like that; I kinda feel for this guy.

Anyhow, after the torturer left the building, the emperor's man, the one who had assigned the torturer, took over the job & made short work of it:  beheadings all around.  & let me say I have had jobs where I wished my boss would step in & kill people so I would be able to stop trying to punish them into seeing the error of their ways.

So that's the story of our saint.  & his twin brother, the other guy.  Also a saint.  Now for the shoes.

Shoes get A LOT of press.  They used to be just one of many fashion accessories, but now that no one wears hats or gloves & I cannot remember the last time I saw an evening bag on the red carpet, accessories more or less boil down to shoes.  That they might be the day job of a guy going on about the evils of excess & & his twin brother, that's just funny to me.  In fact, it seems appropriate that the Patron Saint of Shoes be one of a matched pair.

So how to celebrate the Patron saints of  shoes.  Well, may I suggest cocktails at the Designer Shoe Warehouse (they really should apply for a liquor license, don't you think?), where we could maybe listen to the late & truly lamented Kirsty MacColl.  Then we could all settle down to watch one of my very favorite movies based ever so loosely on a true story (almost certainly more than you can say about the life of our saint.  & his brother.) of a struggling family business in a world of changing values: Kinky Boots.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Move over Pocahontas

Generally I try to avoid two saints in one month (& there is already a saint queued up in less than a week) but Lily of the Mohawks is brand new saint this week & it seemed petty not to cover her.  Anyone who has ever traveled anywhere in the americas (north, south, central, wherever) would have to take quite the circuitous route not to trip over a story of an indian princess.  Even then, I am 99.9% sure you would wind up smack in the middle of an indian princess story not-on-purpose.  Indian princesses jump off cliffs, marry the wrong man, betray their people, save their people, sometimes they just abandon their people.  In short they are very busy people themselves.

& up until last week I would have said Pocahontas was the most famous in the world.  If you have never seen the Disney movie (& I haven't), you would still have to be living under a rock not to know who Pocahontas was.  Or rather, who history says she was.  Or might have been.  Whatever, it doesn't matter.  This is not a post about Pocahontas.  That being said, let us all take a moment to listen the Peggy Lee's Fever, which mentions Pocahontas.

Back to our saint: Tekakwitha was born to a family of mixed heritage (one parent was a Mohawk, who are part of the Iroquios language group, the other was an Algonquin, who have their own language, Algonquin; I might be misremembering, but I don't think these two groups always got along that well), but was orphaned at a very young age.  Much of her family died of the same thing that wiped out so many people in the 17th century New World:  smallpox.  It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Anyway, she was left dependent on an uncle who had a great distrust of christians in general & priests in specific.  First, let me speculate this might be why said uncle was around to care for the much afflicted (scarred & partial blinded by small pox scars) little girl.  Second, guess what kind of indian princess listed above, not that Tekakwitha was a princess-princess, but guess what kind of princess she was.  If you guessed the kind that left her people you would be right.  As a young woman, she ran away to be baptized, then ran away again (I don't entirely follow that one myself) to become a nun.  Then she died of tuberculosis, another disease I am guessing her unreasonable uncle did not catch.

So, that sums that up.  Except that on her deathbed, witnesses say her scars disappeared & she became beautiful (they don't say anything about her putting a on a little weight, so she must have been beautiful à la heroin chic).  & of course later she started performing miracles, pretty much isolated to those who prayed to her so that probably helped determine who got the credit.  Anyway.  Tekakwitha is a saint now, better known as Lily of the Mohawks

Which brings me back to Disney.  It is a very familiar story; see Therese the little flower for the sickness in childhood, the tuberculosis in adulthood & so-forth, or countless others for the whole running away thing, or, or, or.  Seriously, it is a familiar story, but now we have a native american heroine.  Sigh.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 17 minute mile

It has been a long haul (& I am quite sure it will be longer to the next minute less), but yesterday morning I posted my first ever (less than) 17 minute mile average for the whole route.   Recently I expanded the route to cover more than 4 & 1/2 miles.  I had originally been thinking I would run a 5K, so I was more interested in getting faster within very specific parameters; after I realized a 5K in October was unlikely, I started trying to stretch the distance & thinking less about MPH.

In thinking less about speed I have gotten much faster.   This isn't so odd as you might think.  Part of my gaining speed has been extending my running intervals to 10, 11, 12 minutes with 1 minute walking intervals between.  When I limited myself to just 1/2 mile or so longer than the 5K I was targeting it was hard to really extend those times. 

The timing of this has also been good.  I try to get out before 10 to be sure to be home by 11 so I avoid that time of day when the sun is right overhead (I worry if I am squinting, chances are good drivers flying by me are also squinting & I don't want this to end badly), but the days when I would try to get wrapped up before the temperature was over 90F are gone; yesterday it was in the mid-70s in the middle of the day (brrrrr).

& that's it really.  Weight loss is stalled, but I am also eating pretty much whatever, whenever I want without guilt.  Hallowe'en is almost here, & the candy started coming into the house last week.  Then Thanksgiving, then holiday cookie swap, & then, & then...  When it is all over, I hope to be circling the 16 minute mile.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What would Arthur do?

Every few years I am forcibly reminded they no longer teach The Crucible in high school english class.This rather astonishes me on so many levels:  Arthur Miller was an american playwright, writing about an event in american history that had strong tie-ins to what was at the time of writing american current events.  Also, even though there was already a french film version, they made it into a movie with Winona Ryder & Daniel Day-Lewis & it has been my sad experience that some english teachers like to set up a movie JUST IN CASE someone in class could not be bothered to find the crib notes.  Also, in the case of one friend's english teacher it meant she (the teacher) could nap peacefully in the dark while the kids are more or less occupied; I LOVE teachers but there are a few bad apples in there.  Or maybe they are just tired.  It has been a long, ugly haul for teachers here in Fladidah.

The american movie is not bad, actually.  It takes a few side roads from the play, mostly because it can (a change of scenery does a body good after all & just imagine a movie that remained set in what a stage could manage in scene changes).  If you are someone who does not much care for reading plays (it is a learned skill & even then you may not develop a taste for it), go ahead & watch the movie.  Netflix even has it on Instant View in time for the Hallowe'en season, & really what is scarier than Salem witches at Hallowe'en?  Turns out the day-to-day Salem townsfolk are pretty damn frightening themselves.

The gist of The Crucible in a paragraph is this:  for a variety of motives, the best of them being religious zealotry, the people of a village start accusing each other of witchcraft.  Once accused, you are more or less can give the people accusing you another name.  Doesn't even have to be all that plausible; just say "yes, but I was lured & so-&-so lured me".  You will get a slap on the wrist, lose your property (maybe) & be shamed & ostracized (becoming a member of a group almost as large as said village, so that's not so bad, really).  Then of course you have to live with yourself, forever after, knowing that you are responsible for whatever happens to the next person.  & the next.  & the next.

If it all sounds a bit familiar, it was meant to.  When The Crucible was written, the Salem Witch Trials were common knowledge.  So was McCarthyism, whereby people were called up before a senate committee, accused of Communism & sentenced to jail, blacklisted, whatever.  Pretty much the only way to ease your situation was to say "yes, but I was lured; so-&-so lured me".  Some people resisted & their lives were ruined, Pete Seeger famously resisted & his life sure looked like ruined for a few years, but he who laughs last & all that.  I suspect few people on this earth will ever laugh so completely as Pete Seeger, in a completely not-malicious, laugh-along-with-me kind of way.

Late in their cycle, when the popularity wheel was rolling away from them, the McCarthy-ites turned their attention to Arthur Miller.  He was, at the time, married to Marilyn Monroe & most historians agree the accusation was almost certainly a ploy to grab some headlines rather than a sincere attempt to isolate the most dangerous communist in the country.  Unfortunately (depending on your perspective), Miller's response to the McCarthy spotlight was to write the most damning criticism of the work of the committee.  Double unlucky, it is one of the most famous pieces of writing in our american history (it lives right up there with a few others some people spend  a lot of time misquoting).  The Crucible has long held the distinction of being the most widely read & performed american play outside of this country.  It is all so interesting (truly) & you can find whole volumes on the subject; you can take classes on the struggle between Arthur Miller & Joseph McCarthy, on the widely predicted & very very wrong death of Death of a Salesman as a result of McCarthy et al.   But enough about Arthur Miller, lets talk for a bit about Lance Armstrong.

Earlier this month, Lance Armstrong said (I paraphrase) "I am sick of fighting it, I have a life to live.  You want my Tour de France wins back?  Take 'em".   For those who don't know, Armstrong has been denying allegations of doping for years.  It's interesting they keep coming back, in light of the complete lack of medical evidence etc.  I am not saying he wasn't doping, although as a reader of The Crucible I cannot help but wonder.  Particularly as his most ardent accusers have been other athletes who have actually been caught & then parlayed an easing of their punishment if only they can bring in the big fish.  I think Brit Hammond said it best:  "To me it says if you cheat and lie about it for several years, and then drop somebody else in it, you'll be alright".

Which brings us back around to what Arthur has done.  He has told us more about our system of justice than maybe we want to know, not because it is so awful but because it is so universally human. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Proud to be a consumer

I don't know when it started but for years I have been telling anyone who will listen (usually my mother, sorry mom) that I am a GROWN-UP with my own CHECKBOOK & everything.  This is of course a big fat lie; I haven't had my own checkbook since I got married 18 years ago, but the gist is still there:  my own money is my own business...& my own problem.  As a married person it became our own business/problem, as the case may be.

If you got this far & are now worried I am going to start talking about fiscal responsibility, fear not.  I am thinking more about holiday (or non-holiday) on-line shopping.  Even more specifically about iGive.  The short version is iGive is a free-to-you service that collects a percentage of your purchase from the on-line seller & gives it to the charity of your choice (provided they are registered with iGive, which I am told is not all that hard if you are indeed a charity & not some backyard faux-non-profit cash cow). 

What that percentage is depends on the vendor. Amazon for example gives only  part of one percent, but because of the volume of orders that go through them (it's not just books anymore, baby), it can add up fast.  UnderArmour, who I started loving because they are not Nike (in fairness Nike is also an iGive company), then I loved more when I learned they will do embroidery for say, horse crazy middle aged women's specialty catalogs & now of course gets my love all over again for their 3.2% (same as Nike, but they are in a hole so deep I doubt I can ever love them).

So...I would encourage anyone reading this to double check if their favorite charity (alas you can only specify a time) is listed.  Several of mine were but I quickly chose one that does valuable work & to whom my $8 (so far) does make a difference.  After I made my choice (& did a little shopping), I could see how much my cause has received so far - check by check, what their next check amount will be & how much of that is attributable to me.  I have never been a huge on-line shopper having preferred to spend my money locally, even if it is at a chain store, at least those are local people employed there, but ever since the kid at S***** A******** told me I "need to get over that" re: Michael Vick, Nike et al, I am just as happy to bypass some people all together.  Seriously, I may never leave the house again.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Running without

I know I have said before what stuff I run with that makes the whole thing more bearable (lime popsicles, Boudreaux's butt paste, etc.), but I thought I would tell you the things I do without.  Specifically, those things that many a running book, magazine, you name it would imply are commonplace or even necessary:

iPod or playaway or anything that gets between my ears & the sound of the world around me.  This was a new one for me, actually.  Whenever I had used our elliptical I made sure I had something to listen to.  Running in the world, though it turns out things go better when I pay attention.  A big part of this is becasue of the sheer number of people out there with me who are themselves not paying attention.  As most of them are behind the wheel of a car, the odds are in their favor surviving-a-collision-wise, so I like to know when someone is flying up behind me & you can only know that by listening.  //here's a handy little physics trick- if you hear a vehicle behind you but cannot tell if it is getting closer or farther away, listen to the pitch.  If the overall pitch gets higher, the vehicle is headed your way.

light weight running shoes.  My goal has never been to get done faster.  In fact I run with weights in my hands so light-weight would never interest me anyhow.  That aside, I don't seem to have delicate feet that require specialized shoes that do whatever those shoes are called upon to do.  In part this is due to the interval nature of my running (& by running I mean walk 1 minute, run 9-12 minutes.  Or rather stroll breathing deeply 1 minute & then jog chanting I hate this I hate this I hate this 9-12 minutes).  Or even the reality that most of my route is on dirt road so I don't have that jarring pavement-pounded feeling at the end.  Whatever the reason, whatever the cause I have 3 pairs of $50 sneakers & rotate through them depending on how wet it is outside (the oldest pair is for days I know I will run through deep puddles).

a heart or blood pressure monitor.  When it feels like my heart is going to pound right out of my chest, I slow down (don't worry mom, this hasn't happened in months & it was just that one time).  It turns out that the target heart rate for my age is almost certainly 5-8 beats per minute too fast so it is just as well I never aimed for any rate in particular. 

a pedometer.  I admit I would cruise past those displays of snazzy watches that also told you how far you had gone, but I run more or less the same route every day (adding a bit every now & then as my run sets get longer & I need to cover more road).  In the end it was easy enough to drive the route & look at the truck's odometer.  I was glad I did, too, because it turned out that the point on one stretch that mapquest & run keeper & google maps & all of those said was the mid-point actually isn't, if you drive (or run or walk).  This is because one side of that point is very flat & the other side of that point goes up & down what used to be fairly substantial gullies.  When the road was first created, it did not actually connect the two paved roads it now does; it dead ended at the last house.  The road was leveled & lime rocked to that point, but the dirt track that connected this point to the farmers field just a but further on got pushed further still until it came out on the county road.  This extension is not for the faint of heart or faint of suspension, as it can still wash out in a bad storm.  Running-wise, what with having to go down the side of one gully & then up the other side, & then do that again a couple more times, this 1/2 mile is actually more than a tenth of a mile longer than the other half.  Yes, yes, if I had a pedometer I would have known this sooner, but I still haven't bothered to get one.

& last but never least, Nike.  I have managed to avoid plonking down my money on what used to be the premier women's running brand & is now & will forever be those Michael Vick supporting corporate whores.  I know what they said, that they supplied equipment to the league & did not have any control over who used it within the league & my response is if Abercrombie & Fitch can ban fat people from working at their stores & the Situation from wearing their label anywhere in the rest of the world, it seems to me Nike could have said "while we appreciate the league doing us this huge favor of wearing our apparel at no charge to them, we would like you to stop handing it out to every felon on the payroll".  But Nike didn't & they have since gone on to sign Michael Vick to an endorsement deal.  That was Nike's call & they are entitled to it..  Walking quickly past every Nike rack in every sporting goods store everywhere is mine.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lefcado revisited

A few months (a year? no, not yet), a few months ago, I wrote a post ostensibly about Saint Maura but really about other things, including how no one had heard of Lefcado Hearn.  I was not expecting much in the way of hue & cry, not because I think Lefcado Hearn is completely off the map, but becasue I know not that many people read this blog for anything other than the quilt patterns & those that do are not-so-much for poetry written in Japanese.  Also, it helped that not many people have heard of Lefcado Hearn.

Imagine my DELIGHT when he made an appearance over in Letters of Note.

I think I am going to leave this post here & let you go over there & read that one.  It is better than what I write anyhow.  I think I especially like the bit about there being no point in editing out the words with no meaning in the language (or a very different meaning than Lefcado Hearn experienced, what with him thinking letters had colors & all).  & of course a bad reason for doing something being better than no reason at all.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The race I will not be running

So.  Shortly after my 47th birthday I decided to start moving my ass (& not just from the kitchen to the tv room, etc.).  As of this morning, I am covering approx. 4 & 1/2 miles in walk-run (stroll-jog) intervals in just over an hour.  It is no the best hour of my day but the results are worth it.  No I am not losing weight hand over fist, but my hip (& all my joints) feel much better, I have more energy, blah blah blah. 

But back to the beginning.  I had decided, when I started-as part of my starting actually, that I wanted to run a 5K before the end of the year & it really looked like doing this was going to happen.  I was unlikely to win anything, but I could certainly finish.  Maybe finish last, but finish for sure.  & the race I had decided on was the first (& maybe last) Run with the Wild at Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation.

Up until maybe two weeks ago, I had every intention of running (with the wild or more likely trailing behind everyone else running with the wild).  Then a series of things happened here at home.  The short version is somehow we have two different significant yet not-emergency medical procedures scheduled in the ten days before the race & that the race is scheduled on the same day as the annual arts festival downtown (a festival I never remember happening in October before; all I can think it their usual weekend is homecoming this year & in their shoes I would find another weekend, too). 

Unrelated to my decision there are not one, not two, but three other running events scheduled for that same day.  Something called the Hustle for Humanity at Boulware Springs.  Another unknown-to-me called The Pickin' Patch with no links, but I am guessing might be the Florida Track Club's own autumn holiday event (it's on the calendar, but not being a member I know no details). & lastly the Halloween Hobble on campus. 

So for a number of reasons, I will not be running with the wild.  Or hobbling for Halloween.  Or hustling for humanity.  & I feel bad about it, the wild running one.  I hope they have it next year.  If anyone does run with the wild, let me know how much fun it was?  Please?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Not what I intended-still more about books

In one of those aligning, not quite coincidence things, I completed my Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge on the first day of Banned Books Week.  I vowed to read 112 books in 2012 & had logged that many as read by September 30th.  Yes, I am a big reader BUT not all the books were all that big.  For example Why is Blue Dog Blue? is on the list as one of the 112.  So is Nancy Drew, Vampire Slayer, not only not a particularly bookish book, but a graphic novel as well.  At the other end is Robert Massie's Catherine the Great, which certainly counts as a big book.

Also in that list are slews of  book junk food, romances & mysteries abound.  Quite by accident I managed at least one frequently banned book:  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.  No, this was not the first time I have rad this book; I don't even think it was the third.  I read it when I was the age to read it (the age deemed too impressionable by book banners), I read it again in college while doing background for a class in crossover literature (children's & sci fi, hello!; & I say children's because the young adult designation did not exist when I was an undergrad).  It would be a lie to say I never knew this book had been banned; when I saw it on the frequently banned list it rang a bell.  What I did not know is how popular banning it was (& apparently still is, as it is creeping its way up the list of most frequently banned children's books.  Mazel Tov).

Mostly, though, the books I have read so far are a cross-section of what I was in the mood for & what was available on the shelves of my local library.  I fully expect the rest of the year is going to be mostly like that as well.    If you want to see what they are, you can...right here (just click the View Books option):



      2012 Reading Challenge


          2012 Reading Challenge


        Marybeth has
            completed her goal of reading 112 books in 2012!





        112 of 112 (100%)


          view books



Monday, October 1, 2012

Split star encore

Last year in June, the Facebook Quilt Block Swap Group had a split-ish star for our swap, specifically the Massachusetts Star.  It would be a mistake to say it went badly, but it did not exactly go well.  Multiple blocks (in one case every single block from one of the swappers) were wrong; specifically the parts were all right but they were assembled all wrong.  The Massachusetts star is a two fabric 9-patch, but seven squares of the 9-patch had something going on; they were either 1/2-square or 1/4-square triangles & it was their arrangement that made the split star effect.   When the layout was incorrect, it just didn't work.

Unfortunately I had set this block for a month the 6th blocks were all going to a Quilt of Valor project.  A LOT of people wanted to participate & I think that was part of the problem.  People who were not interested in such a complicated block gave it a shot anyway because they wanted to be part of the Quilt of Valor.  To round the fiasco out nicely, after the Quilt of Valor quilt top was made, quilted & almost ready to go we learned one of the fabric's color had bled into the adjacent blocks & the quilt was not eligible for the Quilt of Valor program.

I felt like the universe was telling me to stay away from more complex blocks & I confess the past year of Facebook Quilt Block Swap Group blocks have all been on the beginner/advanced beginner end of things.  I even pulled a Kansas Troubles style block I was that worried about, which I kind of regret.  Then about a week ago, I got the sneak peek of the October Block Lotto Block & I love it.

It takes three fabrics & they would need to be different from each other to have the contrast to make the edges sharp & while it doesn't have the 1/4-square triangles, it does have flying geese, which can be tricky.  I will have to chew on it over the winter & maybe come up for something for next spring.  In the meantime, though, isn't it a pretty star?